Man Films Himself Lecturing McDonald's Drive-Thru Employee About His Customer Service Skills — 'You're Very Incompetent'

His complaints quickly turned to insults that fast-food workers aren't paid enough to deal with.

fast food drive-thru employee junpinzon / Shutterstock

Fast food work is a tough job — ask anyone who's done it. Not only is the pace often breakneck, but you end up taking abuse from more customers than you can count. 

A video showing a man berating a McDonald's employee is currently recirculating, and it highlights everything wrong with how we think about workers in supposedly "menial" jobs.

In the video, a man lectures a fast food employee about his customer service.

The video's origins or the identity of the man who filmed it are unknown, but after first making the internet rounds in 2021 in the r/antiwork subReddit, it has recently resurfaced in the r/ImTheMainCharacter subReddit — a forum devoted to people who are clearly suffering from a debilitating bout of so-called "Main Character Syndrome."


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That's an apt place for the video to show up, since the empathy-eroding "main character syndrome" symptoms are in full effect. The video shows the man taking his drink from a worker at the McDonald's drive-thru window and then proceeding to berate him about his customer service. 


"I’m sure you’re this way with everyone," the man says to the nonplussed drive-thru employee. "You’re just very impatient… You literally rush my order every time and I hate having you."

I've always been under the impression that "rushing" an order was the entire point of a McDonald's drive-thru, but what do I know? In any case, the diatribe only gets worse from there.

The man then tells the employee to find a different 'profession' if he doesn't like working at McDonald's and then insults his intelligence.

"Like, if you don’t want this job, you don’t have to be here," the man says snidely. "I’m just letting you know… You have the choice to have a different profession."

He then moves on to insulting the drive-thru employee's intelligence and competence. "This isn’t a profession," the man snipes, "I’m sure you’re just very incompetent and have to work here. But I’m not being ignorant either." 




He finishes his diatribe by hurling profanity at the employee, telling him, "I come here at a late night hour, I get food, every time I have you, I [expletive] hate it. It makes me sick." 

Throughout the interaction, the worker can only stand there and silently absorb the abuse — otherwise, he'll get fired. But the look of exhausted rage in his eyes is unmistakable.

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The notion that fast food workers can simply go get another job — or that they owe it to anyone to do their job well — is absurd. 

First of all, let's cut to the chase, and I'm going to be very blunt here: These are deeply stupid words from what we can only assume is a profoundly misinformed man, and that's putting it politely.

The notion that anyone working in fast food is there because they want to be is idiotic on a level that's difficult to verbalize. But as someone who worked at McDonald's for four years as a teenager, I will try. 

Fast food work is a grueling job in which you are often rushed and on your feet for hours at a time and then routinely denied basic accommodations like adequate breaks and mealtimes. 

The fast food industry, and the wider food service industry as a whole, are rife with such worker abuses. Huge, eight- and nine-figure lawsuits for wage theft, workers being denied breaks, and violations of child labor laws are routine. The problems are so pervasive that even the federal government has filed suit against fast-food franchisees.


On top of that, the pay is almost universally inadequate. Though unionization efforts, protests and post-pandemic staffing shortages have seen wages in fast food rise in many areas, it is still punishingly rare to make a livable wage in the industry. So much so, that fast food workers make up 11% of homeless people in California, for example.



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Fast food workers also say dehumanizing interactions like this are a regular occurrence.

Amid all these abuses and problems, what are fast food workers rewarded with? Regularly being berated and attacked by customers like the guy who filmed this video. Such abuses are another source of eight-figure lawsuits against companies like McDonald's, by the way.


When I worked at McDonald's in high school, a man once threw a Big Mac at my 14-year-old head because it still had the pickles he asked to be removed. I didn't even take his order and had nothing to do with his burger, not that it's even relevant. And that was just one interaction out of hundreds in the four years I worked there, including a handful of death threats.



Most often though, the abuses took the form of being spoken to like this worker was — as if I was a subhuman idiot, a mound of flesh so profoundly stupid I couldn't possibly do any better in life than the McDonald's drive-thru.

"Imagine being so tone deaf that you would actually post this thinking people would be on your side," one person on Reddit wrote of the man's rant — in which, by the way, he admits to driving drunk, which is likely part of why the young man working the drive-thru didn't have any time for niceties. 


Even if that weren't the case, what exactly do people expect of fast-food workers? As one Redditor put it, "Imagine getting angry that you don’t get treated like a prince at Wendy’s at 2:30 a.m." It's a McDonald's, not Nobu. You don't go to Walmart when you want Neiman Marcus service. This is… pretty standard stuff.



It costs you absolutely nothing to treat someone with basic respect while outsourcing your eating habits to abused workers making a pittance. Leave them alone, and go eat your burger.

Until working in fast food provides an actually livable wage at a workplace that is physically and mentally safe to go to, fast food workers don't owe you anything. And yes, that includes friendliness.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.